Training for Mixed & Ice Climbing Series Part 4 – Hard Core

Photo by Edison Lee

Training For Ice and Mixed Climbing Series brought to you by Furnace Industries continues with part 4 of our series – Hard Core.

This post is part of an 8 part series on Training For Ice Climbing and Mixed Climbing:

NOTE: These workouts are intended for the fitness-minded climber.  It’s up to you to manage your time and expectations.  You may not initially be able to achieve the workout as described.  Just working towards that goal will do wonders to get you ready for ice season.

You’ve been doing:

Foundation with Fortification- 3x / week

Basic Core – 3x / week

Now let’s get serious. We’re going to really work the core and turn up the heat.

Remember these workouts are in addition to your foundational exercises.  You’re starting with your foundation workout, climbing a lot, and working your core. You will replace the Basic CORE with the Hard CORE workouts below, 2x a week.

Hard Core Workout – 2x / Week

Planks / Side Planks –

The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning because it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance which is essential in training for ice climbing.

– Hold your elbows directly under your shoulders and place your wrists in line with your elbows.

– Push your body up into your upper back and hold your chin close to your neck (like you’re holding an egg between your chin and your throat).

– In this position, brace your abdominals—contract them like expecting a punch in your stomach, squeeze your glute and thigh muscles simultaneously. Continue to breathe normally.

– Hold a plank at least 20 to 30 seconds. (If you’re doing it right, you won’t need  to hold it for longer than 30 sec.)

– Rest for 1 min and repeat for 3-5x

Use variations. Try planks with a wide stance, do side planks holding each leg off the ground, hold your arm at your side or extended. It is important to change up movement in training for ice climbing. For bonus points, use a Bosu Ball (ball side down).

Mistakes to avoid:

– Allowing your hips, head, or shoulders to drop

– Placing your hands too close together, which creates internal rotation and instability at your shoulder joint

– Holding your breath

– Trying to hold the position too long, It is better to maintain proper form for a shorter period of time than to hold improper form for longer.

Mountain Climbers(MC) / Suspended Mountain Climbers (SMC)

These are an excellent challenge for the core muscle group. MC’s and SMC’s work everything from your shoulders to your knees. These can be  a great cardio exercise.  If you have access to a TRX setup we highly recommend using it to perform a suspended variation.  If you don’t, performing this from a push-up position is also excellent.

– Begin in a pushup position.

– Bring one leg into your chest, then switch legs.

– Keep the weight on the straight leg and hold the plank position.

– Repeat for 10-12x.

Standing Leg Wood Chop w/Medicine Ball.

The wood chop works the abs but targets the obliques.  Unlike static planks, the wood chop targets your middle while your middle is in motion, making this move a serious functional fitness maneuver. These can be done in a standing position, or for a better workout, while standing on one leg. Use a 5-10 lbs. medicine ball. If you don’t have a medicine ball, use bag of rice / large soup can / pack stuffed with a rope.

– Stand on right leg, (left leg bent, thigh parallel to the ground).

– Hold medicine ball up with both hands to the right side.

– Quickly and smoothly bring the ball down to the left side.

– Keep torso upright, do not bend your torso, keep standing leg slightly bent and restore to the starting position.

– Repeat 6 -12x.  Repeat with the other side.

Modified Front Lever

This is the first really challenging exercise in our program and also one that starts to put together some of the work we’re doing like grip and core strength. These are hard. Just getting into the position is a challenge, which is exactly what we want.  This move is a direct correlation to moves we may do when mixed climbing and vital to training for ice climbing season. Refer to pics.

– Hang straight.

– Bring one leg into your chest

– Bring your back and the opposite leg (keep it straight) to a parallel position with the ground. – – Hold the position for up to 20 sec.

– Repeat 6-12x.

For an excellent series of serious core exercises, look no further than Eric Hörst’s Training For Climbing.  In particular this  Hörst video from Epic TV demonstrates several workouts that are of particular interest to ice and mixed climbers:

In our next post we will dive into endurance exercises. Lay a strong base line and continue with your foundation workout now to be prepared for the challenges ahead.

Check out the other parts of this series:
Part 1 – Build a Solid Foundation
Part 2 – Fortification
Part 3 – Basic Core
Part 4 – Hard Core
Part 5 – Endurance
Part 6 – Special Techniques
Part 7 – Mental Training & Head Games
Part 8 – It’s Time to Climb

Does your climbing gym not allow picked ice tools in their facility?

Pick up a pair of gym safe Dry Ice Tools for training inside the climbing gym –  Here

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